Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Horticulture (fresh chillis)
HORTICULTURE, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY: Sheena is on a mission to spice up Scottish taste buds by growing and selling chillies from her home near Wigtown in South West Scotland. She is also branching out to grow herbs and spices and become the first commercial micro-herbs business in the region.
She grows 150kg of red chillies a year and sells them to customers both retail and wholesale throughout Scotland. The crop is grown under two poly tunnels and four greenhouses with plans for another tunnel to be constructed shortly. Sheena runs most of the business herself but drafts in her husband Neil and business partner Fiona to help out at busy times.
Sheena is a farmer’s daughter and grew up on a beef and game-rearing farm just across the river from her current home. The farm wasn’t big enough to support both Sheena and her dad, so she left home at 17 to go to college and went on to work for the Scottish Department of Agriculture and Harrison and Hetherington, the UK's largest livestock trading company. She was seconded to DEFRA during the Foot and Mouth crisis and later became a wildlife advisor with Natural England.
Sheena took voluntary redundancy from Natural England in order to return home to Dumfries and Galloway and fully commit to her chilli business.
Sheena is passionate about reminding the livestock industry that farmers also produce fruit, vegetables and cereals; and the rise of vegan diets presents opportunities as well as challenges for British agriculture. She says: “I have to say that I get really annoyed and frustrated with the Veganuary and Februdairy chat on Twitter and further afield. I don’t think it is handled well by either side. Yes, farmers produce meat and dairy but we do a lot more besides.”
Sits on the local economic development group, a director of Scottish Rural Action and the Chair of Wigtown Food Festival.
Previous media experience
Herald on Sunday (newspaper), DG Life (a local publication), Sottish Land and Estates LandBusiness magazine (trade magazine)